Remembering Charles Atkin

Posted on: August 17, 2012

Chuck AtkinSince I became dean over three years ago, the College of Communication Arts & Sciences (CAS) has enjoyed so many weeks and months of joy and highlights. Unfortunately, this week has been the most difficult of my career in CAS.  As many of you know, Chuck Atkin, our beloved chair of communication for the past 15 years and professor in the college for 41 years, passed away unexpectedly last weekend. Quite simply, we are heartbroken over our loss.

Chuck was a dear friend of mine, and was a friend, colleague and mentor to so many of us in the college and across MSU. Chuck was widely known and loved by both his peers and students around the world. 

To say that Chuck was a superstar in the communication discipline is an understatement. He produced ten books and over 150 articles and book chapters, and secured research funding from a number of agencies and foundations. He was a leading mass media scholar, with a particular focus on the design and evaluation of persuasive media campaigns for the improvement of health and safety.

Chuck was named an International Communication Association (ICA) fellow and MSU recognized Chuck’s scholarly contributions by awarding him the prestigious University Distinguished Professor honor. He was awarded the Teacher-Scholar Award as an outstanding assistant professor at MSU.

He also won Top Paper awards from the ICA, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) and the American Association for Public Opinion Research. He won the Distinguished Service Award from the National Commission Against Drunk Driving and the Decade of Behavior Research award from a consortium of 54 social and behavioral science associations coordinated by American Psychological Association. Chuck was also awarded the ICA/NCA Outstanding Health Communication Scholar award in 2008.

Chuck’s scholarly accomplishments are vast; however, despite Chuck’s astonishing accolades, he was a kind and humble man. He was a great friend, an influential leader, an inspiring mentor, a great husband and loving father and grandfather. And he was the best sports buddy a dean could have; we were quite the pair of Monday morning quarterbacks all year round.

I know you join me in your condolences to Chuck’s wife, Sandi, his relatives, and his MSU family. Share your photos and memories of Chuck with us or email us. Chuck’s memorial service will be held August 26 in room 147 of the CAS building at MSU. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions in Chuck's memory to the MSU Department of Communication. Chuck's commitment and love of MSU's Communication department were unique in this day and age. There are no words to express how we will miss him.

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